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Phase 1 Risk Assessment in Sheffield - Case Study

Through years of industrial activity in the UK's cities, particulary cities like Sheffield, many areas have been subject to contamination posing a potential risk to human health and the wider environment. The assessment of this potential risk, through a Phase 1 Risk Assessment, is enforced through Part IIA of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 which requires potential land contamination to be dealt with during the planning process. While a Phase 1 Risk Assessment is often requested by the local authority it is the responsibility of the developer to carry this process out, either by themselves or more likely through a competent environmental consultant.

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Phase 1 Desk Study & Risk Assessment Case Study in Sheffield

Our client had planning permission granted, by Sheffield City Council, with the condition of first carrying out a Phase 1 Preliminary Risk Assessment to assess the likelihood of land and ground gas contamination from the nearby landfill site at Parkwood Springs in Sheffield. We first analysed historical map data as far back as the 19th century to identify the past uses of the site as well as any past landmarks nearby that could have left a legacy of soil contamination. Contamination sources may not always be clear through simply observing the current environmental setting of a site as contamination from past activity can remain in soils for a very long time.

Desk Study - Another part of our desk studies for this Phase 1 Risk Assessment in Sheffield, as with all desk studies, involved collating information from reputable sources such as the Environment Agency. For example, we obtained extensive data of the ground conditions present at the site and the surrounding area through the British Geological Survey. This allowed us to not only identify the soil types and bedrock geology of the area but also to find out if the area has been subject to any past mining activities. Past mining activities can affect the land by causing heavy metal contamination that can be harmful to humans and the local environment but it can also affect the structural integrity of the ground which will have important implications for construction work. Data on hydrology and hydrogeology was also collected, this is important in a Phase 1 Risk Assessment, because it tells us where controlled waters are located and gives signs of groundwater conditions which are important when considering the transportation of contamination. For example, soil contamination can travel a long way if transported through rivers or groundwater.

Assessing the Risk of Contamination Through a Phase 1 Risk Assessment

In this Preliminary Risk Assessment we paid close attention to the nearby Parkwood Springs landfill site in Sheffield. Landfill sites can release ground gases such as methane and carbon dioxide that can be very harmful if they are released into people's homes. Contamination from landfill sites can also spread through groundwater and through soil leading to potential issues for human health through direct contact with contaminated soil or inhalation of soil dust during construction work or as a residential end user. Soil contamination can also impact human health through cultivation of plants in contaminated soil that are then eaten. Therefore, landfill sites present an important potential risk to human health and the environment so the degree of risk they present in a given situation needs to be assessed.

In this particular case, our Phase 1 Preliminary Risk Assessment showed that the Sheffield site was located a large enough distance from the landfill site that the risk of land and ground gas contamination was lower and that the landfill site itself was also no longer in operation. We also found that the landfill site had been capped and there were gas management systems in place further reducing the likely risk of contamination spreading from the landfill site. These observations, coupled with the lack of observable risks from alternative sources, lead us to assume that the possibility of unacceptable risk from land and ground gas contamination was unlikely.

I Need a Phase 1 Preliminary Risk Assessment - We can carry out Phase 1 Preliminary Risk Assessments for a range of development projects in Sheffield and the surrounding areas.

1. Contact us and let us know your requirements
2. Following initial consultation we can provide an outline proposal detailing how we can help and the costs involved
3. Our environmental consultants will then carry out a Phase 1 Preliminary Risk Assessment including a detailed desk study and, if requested, visit your site in Sheffield.
4. We can turnaround our Phase 1 Preliminary Risk Assessment within days of your initial enquiry allowing you to stick to schedules and minimise any disruption to your project

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